Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/29/12

The Kansas City Chiefs could end the preseason with a 2-2 record if they can win against the Packers on Thursday night.

In recent history the Chiefs have been bad in the preseason and a win would actually help their mental outlook on the season.

The Chiefs are coming off a horrible 30 point loss against Seattle at home and also a lackluster loss to the Rams.

They did win their home-opening preseason game against Arizona.

Many of the players are under the microscope and some are just trying to get their feet under them before the season starts.

Wide Receivers: Dwayne Bowe is back in the mix after avoiding training camp, or in common terms, “holding out”.

Bowe has had over 1,000 yards the last two years. He had 15 touchdowns in 2010. He’s a premier receiver, but he needs to get on the same page with his quarterback before the season starts.

He seems a little lost. Jonathan Baldwin looks the part, tall, quick, good jumping ability, but mentally he maybe lacking. He got in a fist fight with running back Thomas Jones last year, it didn’t go well.

Baldwin is due for a breakout year in 2012 and has been a training camp sensation. However, he has been horrible in the preseason, fumbling away a pass in St. Louis. Steve Breaston is the No. 3 receiver and an excellent option. Todd Haley brought Breaston in last year from Arizona and hopefully the Chiefs will keep him around.

Dexter McCluster will be playing much more receiver this year. McCluster looks to be in mid-season form and is playing great. There is enough talent here to get some points scored if the quarterback could just get them the ball.

Tight Ends: The Chiefs signed tight end Kevin Boss from Oakland. Boss is a solid pass catcher, but not flashy. He has looked good in the preseason, especially when you compare him to last year’s Leonard Pope.

Tony Moeaki has returned from injury, but he will probably be hurt again real soon. The Iowa standout has shown to be an athletic ball catcher, but he can’t stay healthy. Moeaki has done very little to make any fan rush out and buy his jersey. Third-stringer Steve Maneri has actually looked decent and has made some nice grabs.

Running Backs: The upgrade at running back was big this year. Jamaal Charles looks strong in the preseason and has recovered from his torn ACL injury from last year. Charles averaged 6.1 yards per rush in 2010.

The addition of Peyton Hillis will be a significant upgrade over Thomas Jones. Hillis also looks in fantastic shape and will be the perfect change of pace pack for Charles. Hillis also has great hands for catches out of the backfield.

Rookies Shaun Draughn and Cyrus Gray will battle for the third-string spot. Grey looked good at times in the preseason. Draughn has also done well. Nate Eachus rounds out the rookies. GM Scott Pioli acts as if they would like to keep five running backs, but he could list McCluster, who is a hybrid, in one of the spots.

Where the Chiefs place McCluster will determine if Gray, Draughns, or Eachus will be cut.

Quarterbacks: Matt Cassel is back and looking rather ordinary. He threw a pick-six last week against Seattle. The team rallied around Kyle Orton late last year and seemed to bond with his leadership. Orton bolted to Dallas immediately after the season ended.

Cassel needs what Orton had. He needs the team to believe he is the man for the job. With the offensive line additions and running back upgrades he “should” be good enough to help the team challenge for a wild card and maybe the division. Back up Brady Quinn is a knowledgeable quarterback who would probably play as good as Cassel if he was thrust into the position.

Super Skinny Ricky Stanzi has looked lost all of training camp. It would not surprise anyone if he were cut after the Packers game.

The Chiefs need to focus on drafting a backup quarterback in every draft, regardless of the round taken. Kansas City is behind on the passing philosophies the modern NFL is using. It’s hard to find a franchise quarterback if you don’t ever draft one.

Offensive Line: Left tackle Brandon Albert is just begging for a P0ro Bowl selection, this could be his year. Eric Winston was the biggest free agent pick-up the Chiefs had, stealing him from Houston.

Rodney Hudson has taken over at center for long-time Chief and Bronco, Casey Weigmann. Hudson is having some timing issues with Cassel early on in the preseason. Everyone still expects this group to be one of the top lines in the league. They can certainly run block with the best.

Defensive Line: The Chiefs spend a lot of draft pick money on this position. Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, and this year they drafted Dontari Poe from Memphis. Poe, not surprisingly, is catching on slowly and right now looks to be backing up Anthony Toribio.

Everyone is hoping that the super-athletic Poe can get the system figured out and make a difference sooner rather than later. However, with Chiefs' defensive end draft picks expect later.

Secondary:  with a lingering foot injury to Brandon Flowers, fans are getting to see a lot of Jalil Brown and it hasn’t been good. Russell Wilson picked on Brown constantly in last weeks game against Seattle.

Brown needs to get better in a hurry; the Chiefs desperately need Flowers back for opening day against Atlanta. Safety Kendrick Lewis has had a shoulder injury, this has been giving veteran Abram Elam some playing time and he has looked alright, even catching an interception against Arizona in the preseason opening game.

Head Coach Romeo Crennel seemed rather distraught after the Seattle game. Pioli could hardly talk during his normal third quarter preseason discussion with announcers Paul Burmeister and Trent Green.

Pioli was shell shocked by the whipping Pete Carroll’s Seahawks were giving his Chiefs. Kansas City needs to show some continuity in Green Bay, not from just their younger players hoping to land jobs, but their veterans as well.

 



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